PYR, Jul 28 2009, $15.98
The ancient Gods and the Fomorii demons have brought Balor the Heart of Shadows into the world for the first time in eons. The power of the all evil essence is growing and on Samhain the WORLD’S END will be completed.
The last hope for humanity ,the five Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, have been defeated by the Fomorii after a horrific battle though they did their best it proved futile during the cataclysmic THE DARKEST HOUR. They are leaderless, scattered apart or dead. Though despondent and filled with a hopeless despair, each one of the quintet continues to risk their lives as they separately try to move past the insufferable loss and seek one another as well as persuade Queen Tuatha de Danann to help them defeat the Fomorii to prevent Balor from succeeding. Church, Ruth, Shavi, Ryan and Laura must find their inner strength for if any falters, it means Balor rules and the end of mankind. Even if they prove successful starting with obtaining Tuatha’s help, they will still need to deal with the potentially treacherous Queen.
The third book in The Age of Misrule saga is an excellent finish to a fabulous saga as readers will mark this author for future tales. The story line is action-packed as the follow-up to the stunning defeat in the aptly titled THE DARKEST HOUR which is filled with escapades and adventures, but also allows the audience to see into the hearts and minds of the fearsome five who have no hope for the future as all seems lost. Fans will admire them for their courage to carry on in spite of their anguish, accentuated by the belief some of their allies died. The quintet brings the souls to Mark Chadbourn’s great trilogy. Harriet Klausner
Land Of The Dead
Tor, Aug 4 2009, $25.95
In a rarely traveled part of space, an even rarer artifact from the glorious era of the First Sun Old Ones has been discovered. The leaders of the interplanetary Mexica Empire know the significance of the find from a historical perspective and even more important understand this is a weapon of mass destruction.
In Mexico City, the Emperor wants the relic brought under their close supervision so he sends his son, Prince Xochitl to retrieve it. At the same time Mirror Service operative Green Hummingbird, First Sun anthropological expert Gretchen Anderssen and Captain Susan Koshy are also trying to obtain the artifact. Others also make a trek to gain possession as everyone understands the impact of an Old Ones’ weapon.
The premise of In The Time of the Sixth Sun saga (see WASTELAND OF FLINT and HOUSE OF REEDS) is simplistic as Thomas Harlan changes a key pivotal sixteenth century moment in which the Japanese instead of the Spanish meet the Aztecs first. From that first encounter, the author has extrapolated an alternate history based on the Annals of Cuauhtotlan that provides the audience with a super futuristic science fiction saga. LAND OF THE DEAD is a great action-packed thriller with tense battle scenes in space as the race to possess an artifact from the era of the First Sun has everyone on edge. Green and his cohorts, and Xochitl bring to the exciting plot a human rivalry that compares how minuscule earthlings are against the big vastness of outer space. Harriet Klausner
Tor, Aug 18 2009, $25.99
Every seven years on the Night of the Summer Stars, the Aetherials routinely move back and forth between the Spiral and the Earth when the gates between realms are opened for a short time. The Aetherials live amongst the earthlings as humans, but must go home periodically to touch their basic essence or go insane.
Their return to home trip abruptly fails this year when for no known reason the Gatekeeper Lawrence Wilder shuts the portal permanently. He proclaims danger is coming from beyond that could destroy the realms, but says nothing further. The Aetherials are stuck on Earth and panic stricken though they have lived safely as mortals amidst the humans; but these Fair Folk will go mad and die if they fail to return home. The daughter of their King Auberon, Rose Fox is attracted to one of the sons of the Gatekeeper, though both offspring Sam and Jon Wilder want her. This is not a good time for romance as the desperate visitors are losing their grips on sanity from failing to touch with their Aetherial selves on the other side of the shuttered gate.
ELFLAND, the first Book of the Silver Wheel saga, is an excellent fantasy due to the refreshing cast as the human, the Aetherial, and the Gatekeeper and his family (especially his sons) seem genuine with all types of personal conflicts and desires. Surprisingly, the story line focuses deep on the relationships (carefully keeping the romance from overwhelming the rest of the plot) between and within the two key families while one brood struggles with sanity while trying to go home. Fans will relish Freda Warrington’s opening gamut and look forward to the rest of this character driven series as the Fair Folks instinctively know time is running out on their minds. Harriet Klausner